FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND FRAUD CHARGES IN KITCHENER.  1-866-DEFENCE.

In Kitchener, fraud offences are common. Due to the broad definition of fraud, individuals may be charged with the offence in a wide variety of circumstances. Being charged with a criminal offence for the first time can be confusing and scary. This is especially true for first-time offenders. Donich Law has experience defending first time offenders, those who have been wrongfully accused, those charged with minor fraud offences and those charged with complex, high value fraud offences.

In R. v. O.I. [2019], the Firm resolved civil and criminal proceedings against an accused charged with fraud. The individual was accused of defrauding their employer of roughly $170,000. The Firm successfully resolved both proceedings, with no criminal record for the client.

In R. v. A.B. [2018], the Firm represented an individual accused of selling counterfeit concert tickets online. The Firm successfully defended the fraud charge, ultimately having the charge withdrawn. In R. v. Z.U. [2018], the Firm had nine fraud charges stayed for an accused alleged to have participated in a complex cross-border fraud scheme. It was alleged that the accused had stolen money from elderly individuals and converted the money into gold bullion. The gold bullion was then shipped over the U.S. border.

In R. v. S.A. [2017], the Firm represented a Canada Post employee alleged to have attempted to defraud $50,000 from a bank. The accused was charged with four counts of fraud, all of which were successfully resolved. In R. v. S.D. [2017], the Firm represented an individual accused of falsifying a vulnerable sector check. The Firm was able to have the fraud charge against the accused withdrawn, resolving the matter without a criminal record for the accused.

In R. v. K.L. [2015], the Firm represented an individual charged with fraud after allegedly participating in a commercial theft ring. The Firm secured the withdrawal of the charge, resolving the matter without a criminal record for the accused. In R. v. I.B. [2014], the Firm represented an individual charged with possession of property obtained by crime, fraud, and uttering forged documents. The accused was alleged to have participated in a sophisticated scheme to defraud the TTC Metropass system. After negotiations with the assigned Crown, the Firm secured the withdrawal of all charges against the accused.

Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal Offence, Your Rights and the Consequences associated with a Criminal Record is necessary before any legal decisions are made.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Fraud?
How Does the Crown Prove Fraud in Kitchener?
How to Beat a Fraud Charge in Kitchener?
What Penalties are Associated with a Fraud Conviction in Kitchener? 
What are Common Aggravating and Mitigating Factors in Fraud Cases?

Additional Resources

Assault
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Sentencing Factors
Keeping Your Charges Private
Release from Police Custody
Theft From Your Employer
Resolving Shoplifting Charges
U.S. Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Immigration Consequences
Elements of a Crime
Your Rights

What is Fraud?

The offence of fraud is outlined in section 380(1) of the Criminal Code. The Code states that an individual has committed fraud when they, by falsehood, deceit or other fraudulent means, defraud another person or the public of services, goods, money, security or belongings.

To be guilty of the offence the accused must have intended to defraud the person or the public. However, an accused person who is willfully blind or reckless as to whether or not their actions constitute fraud will be guilty of the offence. Fraud offences are categorized based on the value of the fraudulent activity. An individual who commits fraud with a value not exceeding $5,000 will be charged with fraud under $5,000 and will face less severe penalties. An individual who commits fraud in an amount exceeding $5,000 will be charged with fraud over $5,000 and will face more severe penalties.

How Does the Crown Prove Fraud in Kitchener?

In Kitchener and across Canada, to gain a conviction for fraud, the Crown must prove all elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. The Crown must prove that the accused used deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means to defraud a person or the public of a good, service, money, or security. The Crown must also prove that some loss resulted to the complainant, or that there was a realistic risk of loss to the complainant as a result of the accused’s actions.

How to Beat a Fraud Charge in Kitchener?

The best defence to any fraud charge in Kitchener will depend on a myriad of factors. The most important factors are the details of the accusations against the accused and the evidence available to the Crown. To beat a fraud charge, the accused must refute the evidence presented by the Crown. To do this, the accused must show that the Crown’s evidence is unreliable or lacks credibility. Alternatively, an accused may beat a fraud charge by presenting evidence to weaken or explain away the Crown’s evidence.

Two common defences to a fraud charge in Kitchener are arguing that the accused lacked the intent necessary to be convicted of fraud and arguing that the complainant did not suffer a loss and that there was no realistic risk of loss occurring.

In some circumstances, an accused may beat a fraud charge by arguing that they lacked the necessary intent to be guilty of the offence. If the accused did not intend in any way to commit fraud and were genuinely unaware that they were committing a crime, it is possible to beat the charge. This defence will only be successful in a rare set of circumstances. To successfully advance this argument, the accused must show that they were not reckless or willfully blind regarding the legality of their actions.

In other circumstances, an individual charged with fraud may beat the charge by arguing that there was no loss, or no realistic risk of loss to the complainant. For the Crown to gain a conviction, they must show that the accused’s actions caused loss, or a realistic risk of loss to the complainant. If this is not the case and the accused can present evidence proving it, the accused may be able to beat the charge.

Determining which defence is the best in any given case will depend on many different factors. It is important to consult with experienced legal counsel if you have been charged with fraud to ensure you present the best defence possible to the Court. Due to the serious criminal penalties that may result from a conviction, developing a solid defence strategy is important. Donich Law can assist you in developing the best strategy for your set of circumstances, as we strive to achieve the best possible outcome for each of our clients.

What Penalties are Associated with a Fraud Conviction in Kitchener?

Fraud offences can range from minor to very serious. As a result, the penalties for those convicted of fraud in Kitchener may vary significantly from one offender to the next. In many cases involving low level frauds committed by first-time offenders, it is possible to resolve charges without a criminal record for the accused. Common sentences for such an offender include community service, restitution, fines and probation.

In cases involving more serious fraud offences, offenders may be sentenced to a period of incarceration upon conviction. Fraud under $5,000 is a hybrid offence, which allows the Crown to make an election that will determine the maximum penalty imposed on the accused. The Crown will make this election based on the severity of the allegations and any other relevant factors. In more serious cases the Crown will elect to proceed by indictment whereas in less serious cases the Crown will elect to proceed summarily. Where the Crown proceeds by indictment, a convicted individual may be sentenced to no more than two years in prison. If the Crown proceeds summarily, a convicted individual may be sentenced to no more than two years less a day in prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine.

Fraud over $5,000 is a straight indictable offence. This means that the Crown has no discretion to elect and influence the maximum penalty available upon conviction. Those convicted of fraud over $5,000 may be sentenced to no more than fourteen years in prison.

Those found to have committed fraud with a value exceeding one million dollars will face a mandatory minimum of two years in prison.

If you have been charged with a fraud offence in Kitchener, it is important to contact qualified legal counsel as soon as possible. Donich Law can guide you through the court process and help you develop the best defence to ensure the best outcome for your case.

What are Common Aggravating and Mitigating Factors in Fraud Cases?

When determining the appropriate sentence for an individual convicted of fraud, the Court will weigh many aggravating and mitigating factors.

The Criminal Code outlines various aggravating factors that the court will consider when determining an appropriate sentence. The Court will consider the magnitude, complexity and duration of the fraudulent activity as well as whether or not the offender destroyed any records related to the fraudulent activity. The Court will also look at whether or not the offender abused a position of authority or trust, the number of victims, the impact on and the personal characteristics of the victim(s). Finally, the Court will look at whether or not the fraudulent activity was committed in furtherance of or to benefit a criminal organization.

In addition to aggravating factors, the Criminal Code also outlines various mitigating factors that the Court should consider when determining an appropriate sentence for someone convicted of fraud. The Code states that the Court should also consider whether the accused was a first time offender, the age of the accused, whether the accused voluntarily paid restitution, whether the accused has strong ties to the community, and whether the accused had a honest motive for committing the fraud. The Court will also consider if the accused suffered a serious personal loss as a result of their behavior, such as the loss of their home or job.

If you have been charged with fraud in Kitchener, Donich Law can assist you in developing the best possible strategy to defend your case. We regularly defend individuals charged with minor fraud offences as well as complex fraud offences, and regularly obtain positive results for our clients.

Quick Facts

What is Fraud?

The Criminal Code states that an individual has committed the offence fraud when they, by falsehood, deceit or other fraudulent or dishonest means, defraud another individual or the public of money, goods, services, securities or belongings. An individual will be charged with either fraud over $5,000 or fraud under $5,000 depending on the value of the fraudulent activity committed.

What is Benefit Fraud?

An individual has committed benefit fraud when they collect benefits to which they are not lawfully entitled. A common example is employees claiming benefits for health or wellness services that they did not actually receive.

Will I be Sentenced to Jail for Fraud?

In some cases, yes. Fraud is considered a very serious offence and in many cases offenders are sentenced to a period of incarceration upon conviction. the maximum penalties for fraud range from two years in prison to 14 years in prison. Whether or not an individual will be sentenced a period of incarceration will depend on the severity of their crimes, the value of the fraud, and any other aggravating or mitigating factors present in the case.

What if I Defrauded my Employer?

Individuals who defraud their employer will be charged with fraud under section 380(1) of the Criminal Code. The fact that the individual defrauded their employer will act as an aggravating factor in the case. Courts will use this as justification for imposing more severe sentences on those who are convicted.

What if I Defrauded my Employee Benefits?

Employee benefit fraud is one of the most common types of benefit fraud committed in Kitchener and across Ontario. In many cases, those who commit employee benefit fraud will face serious consequences in various aspects of their life. It is not uncommon for those found to have committed employee benefit fraud to be charged with criminal fraud, be fired from their place of employment, and to face civil penalties.

Will People Find out About my Fraud Charge?

In Canada, the vast majority of criminal proceedings are open to the public. This means that any member of the public can attend court and observe the proceedings. Additionally, once an individual is convicted of a criminal offence, that conviction becomes part of the public record. Such a conviction record can be accessed by any member of the public. Having legal counsel attend court proceedings on behalf of an accused can help limit the amount of exposure one’s charges receive.

Will a Fraud Charge Affect my Ability to Travel?

In many cases, yes. Traveling outside of Canada with a criminal record can be difficult in many cases. Many countries around the world will deny entry to those who have been convicted of a criminal offence. This is especially true of the United States, who may refuse entry to anyone who has committed a crime.

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